By Jason Elmquist
NORMAN, Okla. —
Oklahoma State will have to wait another year to end its losing streak in Norman.
The Cowboys, who haven’t beaten their Bedlam rivals on the road since 2004, dropped another game to the Oklahoma Sooners Saturday in Lloyd Noble Center, 77-68.
Oklahoma State has won just one Big 12 road game in the past three seasons — the only victory coming last season at Texas Tech — as the Cowboys are now 0-2 in Big 12 road games this year.
“There’s some kind of spell on us or something that we’ve got to get over,” OSU junior Markel Brown said. “We’ve got to find a way to get good road wins in the Big 12. These types of games can help you or can hurt you for the tournament.”
Much like the past few seasons for OSU in Norman, the Cowboys (11-4, 1-2 in Big 12) were unable to overcome a slow shooting performance early. Oklahoma State found itself down by as much as 14 in the first half and was trailing its Bedlam rivals 38-29 at the break.
“They came out and set the tone for the game and we didn’t respond,” said Brown, who scored a game-high 19 points. “They came out, put pressure on us, played way harder than us and it effected the game.”
The only thing keeping the Cowboys in contention early was the play of freshman guard Phil Forte, who led all scorers with 10 points in the first half to finish with 12 points in his first Bedlam game.
“We needed his shots to go in and he’s a guy that we count on to make those shots,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “... We made some 3’s to stay in the game in the first half when they were stretching it out a little bit. … I think it gives you a lot, psychologically, to see a shot like that up in the air and it’s going in and he made some big ones.”
The Cowboys had to expend a lot of energy in the second half, but found themselves back to within two points just under 10 minutes left in the game. But OSU had to labor throughout the half when freshman point guard Marcus Smart picked up his fourth foul — sidelining him for nearly five minutes.
“It hurts us, but I think we played well with him (on the bench) in stretches,” Ford said. “... He’s a really good defender, but we need him on the court obviously for offense. He was in foul trouble in both halves and it probably affected us more in the first half than the second. It puts a little pressure on other guys who have to have the basketball.”
Oklahoma State struggled to keep up in the second half because of the shooting performances from both teams around the perimeter.
Forte, who was 3 for 5 from long range in the first half, went 0 for 5 in the final 20 minutes and OSU was 0 for 8 as a team from behind the arc. While the Pokes couldn’t get anything to drop from 3-point range, OU surged ahead thanks to the long range shot – shooting 5 for 9 in the second half.
“We didn’t make as many 3’s as they did,” Brown said. “We didn’t expect certain players that made 3’s to make those and it hurt us.”
The Cowboys will get a week to mull over the Bedlam loss. Their next contest will be Saturday with a home game against Texas Tech, scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I think this will just be fuel for the fire,” OSU forward Michael Cobbins said. “We’ll be ready to get back out on the court and prove ourselves once again. If anything, it’ll help us … focus on our next victim.”